Captain William Toney’s Nature Coast Fishing Report
On the water last week, I felt the transition in the air and could see in the water that Fall is on it’s way.
I know archery season is in full swing, inhaling mosquitoes and sweating to death is not what some folks would consider Fall-like hunting weather, but those of us who pursue the first deer of the season know what they know. In the woods just before daylight, sitting still in a tree stand, certain birds sing differently this time of year and it can be pleasantly cool not moving and just enjoying nature’s t.v.
On the water I’ve been getting goose bumps on my arms during the morning run out. The rock grass is thick and in big patches. The male frigate birds’ orange throats make the mangroves look like citrus trees, and pelagic fish are making there way south along with a few ducks. I think it’s a good time of year, gotta love the Fall.
The inshore bite is as good as should be expected with cooling water temperatures. The redfish are on most every western facing points on the incoming tide.
The good thing about only keeping one redfish is that it gives you time to try to catch other fish.
The best bait has been a soft plastic dark colored tail on a 1/8 oz. jig head or live shrimp or cut pinfish. Points that receive the most current are more productive but don’t pass on a point or shoreline that has jumping mullet on it. If you see this that can be easy fishing this time of year.
After sore lipping a few redfish and putting your boats limit in the box move on to some great trout fishing.
The areas west of St. Martins Keys, Mangrove Point, and the pole line in Chassahowitzka that have good bottom covered with rock grass use a cork and jig to catch some keeper trout. Some of the best soft plastics have been D.O.A.’s 305 glow C.A.L. Shad or MirrOlure’s bourbon LIL’ John. The D.O.A.’s large oval cork has made the difference in my clients catching trout. I have tried to out fish them by using the same colors only without the cork but the noise is making it happen. D.O.A. also has a large cork with a cupped lip – just saying on a breezy day more noise the better.
On the near shore rocks good grunts and a few mangrove snapper are biting. The mackerel are in full swing and they will take a free lined live shrimp on a Eagle Claw long shank hook. A good client of mine did catch two 10 pound grouper this week on rocks in 12 feet on a Rapala F14 clown colored plug.
As the water cools down expect that the inshore grouper bite will get better. Incoming tide this weekend will be midday, don’t be the first one to get a ticket because the speed zones changed October 1! W